For the Patriots to exceed expectations this season they will need improved play from multiple players, especially on the offensive side of the ball. In this article, we will take a look at five players that could help the Patriots change their fortunes on offense. In the spirit of being interesting, we are going to leave Jarrett Stidham off the list because he’s an obvious one. What players around the quarterback need to play well for the offense to see a substantial improvement?
1.) N’Keal Harry
We are believers in the potential Harry can bring to the Patriots. We know he struggled with route running and producing separation last year, but there’s hope for a second-year leap. The main problem in our eyes was Harry being unable to stay on the field due to early injuries. As a rookie receiver in any system, you need as much time as you can get to become acclimated to the NFL. Unfortunately for Harry, he missed most of the preseason and the first half of the 2019 NFL season.
The good news is that Harry showed flashes when he was on the field. Harry was dynamic when he was able to get the ball with space, he also has great size and the ability to catch jump balls. Harry has also been working this offseason on improving his route running. Hopefully, we see more of a commitment to get Harry involved in the offense this season. The truth is the Patriots have to get more from their receivers outside of Julian Edelman if they want to have any success on offense. The Patriots would receive a big boost to their offense if Harry is the real deal.
2.) Isaiah Wynn
Wynn just needs to stay on the field. The former first-round pick has only played in eight games in two seasons. There is reason to be excited about Wynn because when he plays he’s been very good. The most important thing the Patriots can do for Stidham is making sure he stays protected, and with Wynn, you have a good young left tackle.
3.) Devin Asiasi
Is it unfair to put a rookie on this list? Yes, but I don’t have any other choice. We simply don’t have any faith in Ryan Izzo and Matt LaCosse to substantially improve enough to help the offense. The Patriots need something from the tight end position after getting a little more than nothing last season. The 91st overall pick is the best bet at getting something from the position.
First-year tight ends generally have a harder learning curve than other positions so I don’t know how realistic it is for Asiasi to fix everything right away, but we like him as a prospect. We think he blocks well which is a big plus for a Patriots team that values tight ends that can block. Asiasi also moves well and has potential as a receiver. Hopefully, he is able to become a security blanket in the middle of the field for Stidham.
4.) Mohamed Sanu
The Patriots need more from someone they gave up a 2020 second-round pick for. Yes, he was injured and that probably played a role in his lack of production. With that being said, Sanu had 26 catches with the Patriots last season with 10 of them coming in one game against the Ravens. Sanu struggled with drops and overall just didn’t seem to connect with Tom Brady whether that be because of the injury or something else.
We like Sanu, we just happen to think he’s a better #3 receiver than a #2. If Sanu can get healthy and become what he was for the Falcons I think that helps all the other receivers on the roster as well. The problem last season is defenses could bracket Edelman and cover James White out of the backfield and they were good. Sanu could add another presence for the defense to worry about.
5.) Sony Michel
We don’t get all the hate some people throw at Michel on Twitter. The run blocking last year was horrendous at times and Michel still almost managed to break 1,000 yards rushing. With that being said, Michel wasn’t without blame. Coming into his third year, Michel needs to show he can be more than an average back. Right now, he’s as good as his offensive line; we’d like to see Michel be more than that.
We put Michel on the list for two reasons, he needs to increase his ability to shake the first tackler, and improve his ability as a pass-catcher. In our opinion, the more conservative run style game plan that the Patriots used last year will be back this year. If Michel produces around 3.7 yards per carry again, then other guys like Damien Harris will steal his snaps.
If the Patriots hope to move the ball effectively it’s vital that Michel is able to control the ground game. Not only will it help move the ball but it will give the Patriots a chance to control the clock and have success on play-action. Lastly, it would be nice if the Patriots weren’t as one dimensional with Michel on the field, we just wonder how much more you could open up the playbook if Michel was even just an average threat as a pass-catcher.